I thought I would compile some early statistics on the youth vote in 2008. The increase is promising, but not the monumental kind of shift I was hoping for. It doesn't seem likely that we'll see a better youth turnout in future elections... I can't imagine that a more appealing candidate will appear, although perhaps youth voter turnout would increase if something pretty major and of direct youth concern, like a draft, were to happen.
From The Center for Information & Research on Civil Learning and Engagement (Tufts U, data from NEP):
2008 Youth (18-29) is estimated at 23 million or 52% of eligible youth voters. This is up 3.4 million or 4 points from 2004. Overall voter turnout in 2008 was 61.5% of eligible voters; with youth voters comprising about 18% of total voters, up from 17% in 2004 (nonprofitvote.org).
68% of youth voters supported Obama, significantly higher than the 45% who identify as Democrats. Initially I suspected this might be because youth are more likely than older voters to identify as Independents while maintaining a strictly Democratic voting record. Interestingly, only approximately 38% of older voters identify as Democrats. Support for Obama among older voters totaled 52% for 30-44 year olds, 49% for 45-59, and 47% for 60+.
Youth support for Obama was surprisingly evenly distributed over levels of education - between 63-68% support for Obama for all levels. In contrast, the general population showed more significant differences in education as correlated with support for Obama:
(CNN Exit Poll)
No HS - 63%; HS Grad - 52%, Some College - 51%; College Grad - 50%, Post-Grad - 58%
Youth votes. Discuss.
11 January, 2009
posted by Eremita at 2:22 PM